Artist Statement

I aspire to create representational imagery that triggers a lasting smile, a longing to look and find a positive view of our world and of the people living in it. Through my art, I want to interact with my viewers and to share with them what I have experienced. I paint portraits, landscapes and inanimate objects in both watercolor and oil.
The challenge to create with watercolor – one of the most difficult media in the visual arts – fascinates me. The swift, fluid and spontaneous brush strokes combined with meticulous rendering of detailed transparent brilliant colors draw viewers’ attention to the otherwise subtle contents of my paintings. In “California Mom”, a woman seeks a sense of equilibrium by momentarily detaching herself from the recurring tensions of society in order to have a different perspective. In “Still Thinking”, a young adult learns to meet the rigors of daily life as he contemplates on the next step ahead. What is Allen thinking of as he looks at his own shadow? Could it be another new project? Could it be a new accomplishment for the day? In “My Companion”, a woman with her pet dog is represented in silent soliloquy with her vista. What lies in the background emptiness? The paintings are highly representational and yet they invite the viewers to ponder.
When I paint people, I want them candid, so convincingly alive that they visually communicate and are seemingly cognizant of the viewers. My interest is on people and the landscapes they occupy. In doing portraits, I am challenged to not simply capture the likeness, but also the character, personality and life of the subject. Moreover I want the viewers to “talk” to the subject and the subject to “talk” back. In “Woman at 60”, a petite Filipina at age 60 exudes a woman of strong character. She speaks freely and confident about herself. No Longer is she shown struggling to find her niche in the society. No longer is she the stereotypical shy Asian who speaks softly and bashful in her surroundings. She has made a strong presence for herself. Listen and learn from her. She is herself as she emerges from the canvas. This painting speaks to all who sees it. The subjects of my paintings ‘reach’ out of the 2-dimensional plane to make an initial contact with the viewers.

I intend to make my landscape paintings picture windows where people can stop to ponder about the imagery and can imagine themselves as part of the scene. The use of heightened contrast between darks and lights, as well as lively and gloomy colors, in my urban landscapes, give rise to the drama of an otherwise ordinary setting. The clouds portend impending storm illuminated by sunlight slowly receding into the horizon. My landscapes, whether big or small, are almost hypnotic. As the paintings lure viewers to contemplate on the subject, they unconsciously participate in a creative process. They relate to the scene depicted and at the same time imagine themselves as participants in that scene. The viewers of my oil painting “Rush Hour Jam” are caught by the classic serenity of a European 17th century landscape painting from a
distance. But as the viewers are lured in to look closer, they find themselves in a contemporary urban setting that is very much part of an everyday experience.
Although a highly representational work, my oil painting “White Walls” depicts an abstract geometric space constrained by walls. But this constraint is illusory. Here’s a statement that reveals my intention: “Everyday we could be bound between empty walls while somebody looks the other way. I ask myself: could this be imaginary? Those white walls are not actually enclosing me! They are not enclosing you either! They could be our canvas for life! We can expand on those walls. Nobody can do it for us. I can create on them.  You can create on them too. Endless possibilities abound on each of the white canvases we encounter in life. I say to myself and to you: explore, expand and create. The artist in us can do it! Erase the blank.” My words aim to touch and empower those who view my painting and grasp its insight.
I also inject deep thought into my still life subjects. Through the interplay of lights versus darks, drama and mystery are added to an otherwise seemingly mundane subject. Of “Something’s Cooking”, one may think the smoke rises from the pipe though the pipe is not lit. Where does it come from? People fail to identify the source of tension and conflict because they fail to see outside the boundary.

When the viewers participate, only then can I say my painting is done! I believe that the appreciation of art is a very personal response to creative work and that as an artist I strive to engender this response in my viewers. My hands, mind and heart all work in unison to spark the awe the viewers experience in their initial encounter with any of my artworks.

Lynda A. N. Reyes

January 2015